Our History of Achievements

We began after the first Avon River red-zone land announcement in 2011, when people started really thinking what should become of the land. Our founding members are the Avon River Park Facebook group, the River of Life Project and Campaign for a Memorial Reserve Covenant.
We’ve grown to include many supporting individuals and organisations with a similar vision.
In May 2012 we delivered a petition signed by more than 18,500 people, asking Parliament "to work with the people and local authorities of Christchurch to ensure that the Avon River red zone becomes a reserve and river park when the home owners have to leave".
We work with other community groups aiming to build a better Christchurch, and liaise with and consult organisations such as Regenerate Christchurch, Environment Canterbury and Christchurch City Council to help shape the future of land around the Avon River (known in Maori as Ōtākaro). We have made submissions to Parliament’s local government and environment select committee, the Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury.
In April 2015 we saw recognition of our advocacy in the Prime Minister’s announcement of a “community participation process … designed so the public has a say on the future use of the lands.” This was enthusiastically endorsed by Mayor Lianne Dalziel with specific reference to the work of Avon-Ōtākaro Network.
Here is our full summary of achievements to date:

Avon-Ōtākaro Network is founded.


Petition of 18,500 signatures to the House of Representatives to “work with the people and local authorities of Christchurch to ensure that the Avon River red zone becomes a reserve and river park when the home owners have to leave.” Subsequent written and oral submissions to the Environment and Local Government Select Committee.
Spring River Festival.

Agreement of retention methodology for existing vegetation (native and significant exotics, including fruit trees, protected and retained).
Hosted Project Forum for proposal champions opened by Ngāi Tahu.
Agreement between Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Centre for Freshwater Management and AvON, to seek funding for a mahinga kai project in the red zone.
Incorporation of Avon-Ōtākaro Incorporated - our fund sourcing and administering legal entity.
Successfully negotiated the setting aside of $15M CEAT funding for implementation of future red zone projects that connect communities from city to sea. This fund remains unspent.
Commissioned a Lincoln University study that valued the benefits of a red zone river park at around a billion dollars over ten years.

Hosted Mini-Conference for key proposal advocates, with hangi provided by Ngāi Tahu.
Opening of Matariki Gardens and the start of the Mahinga Kai Exemplar (MKE) at Anzac Dr Reserve – the first restoration planting in the red zone with Ngāi Tahu, Ngai Tūāhuriri, DOC, ECan and CCC.  See Video.
EVO::SPACE on-line public engagement exercise on the red zone and the east undertaken in collaboration with Eastern Vision: 1600 respondents.

MKE native planting events: 2,500 plants in the ground.  
Eyes East TV series on proposals for the red zone and the east in collaboration with Eastern Vision.  Still available on-line on Rebuild Christchurch website.

Matariki in the Zone with strong participation of Ngāi Tahu.
Joining the Dots Forum for proposal champions including Regenerate Christchurch.
Mahinga Kai Exemplar Strategy agreed with Ngāi Tahu and Ngai Tūāhuriri. 
MKE native planting events: total of 5,500 plants in the ground: many local schools involved.  Successful Million Metres crowd-funding campaign raising more than $16k.
Red Zone Treks – public walk & talks through the red zone for Breeze Walking Festival.

Lie of the Land Forums for proposal champions including Regenerate Christchurch.
Support gained from Regenerate Christchurch, CCC, City Care Ltd to progress the transitional stopbank cycle/walkway from city to sea.  $50k grant from MSD.
Recognition of AvON by Regenerate Christchurch as a key community stakeholder in regeneration planning for the red zone.
Native Nature space in Children’s Day which will be held in the red zone for the first time.
Commissioned an Ecological Restoration Options study in collaboration with Avon-Ōtākaro FOrest Park and Greening the Red Zone.
Contributed to Transitional Wayfinding project.